While exploring the forest for Maple trees to tap, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Maple sap icicle dripping from a branch above. A woodpecker had pecked a hole at some point which allowed for the sweet liquid to drip down to the earth below. Fortunately, with the cold temperatures in the evening, an icicle formed! I climbed up into the tree to retrieve this subtly sweet treat and was instantly inspired.
We decided to tap the area and gather a few mason jars of Maple sap. With the days in the upper 60’s and the evenings near freezing, this didn’t take long at all. The water is delightfully cold, crisp, and ever so slightly sweet. Of course, we could evaporate the water and enjoy the rich, sugary, syrup but the sap is hydrating, full of antioxidants, and worth enjoying as well.
While walking back with our Maple water, we decided to gather bits of Eastern Hemlock & a few freshly fallen Birch twigs for our woodland creation! We chose Birch bark because it has an aromatic wintergreen flavor, which pairs nicely with Eastern Hemlock (or even Pine) and Maple. When gathering Birch twigs it’s important to gather fresh. If the branches/twigs bend, that’s good! Always be sure to properly identifying your foraged friends before consuming.
Now let’s make the Woodland Slush (because that’s why we’re here)!
Woodland Slush Recipe
5-6 cups Maple Sap/Maple Water
20 grams fresh Birch Twigs (Optional, I tend to lightly peel the outer bark off before using and break into smaller pieces) Also, it’s in grams because measuring twigs in a cup is tricky!
A small handful of fresh Eastern Hemlock or Pine needles & twigs
Ice Cream Maker
- Prepare your ingredients by straining any impurities from the Maple water & prepping the Birch twigs (optional)
- Place the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. You’re basically making infused maple syrup at this point.
- Allow the liquid to boil for 30 minutes. If you boil for longer, the slush will continue to get sweeter but you’ll have less liquid to work with.
- The maple water will start to turn a golden brown color as the twigs infuse and the syrup starts to form. When you’ve reached your desired sweetness and woodland taste, take it off the heat.
- Let the woodland tea cool to room temperature
- Place the liquid into your Ice Cream Maker and use as directed.
- Now, it’s time to enjoy this Woodland Slush! The color is absolutely stunning and the taste is of sweet wintergreen with a hint of pine.